42 MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE may at times be a mere synonym for sloth and laziness, and fecundity may be a racial virtue but an individual vice. But all these qualities may be summed up in the word mellow- ness. They are passive qualities, suggestive of calm and passive strength rather than as youthful vigour and romance. They suggest the qualities of a civilization built for strength and endurance rather than for progress and conquest. For it is a civilization which enables man to find peace under any circumstance, and when a man is at peace with himself, he cannot understand the youthful enthusiasm for progress and reform. It is the old culture of an old people who know life for what it is worth and do not strive for the unattainable. The supremacy of the Chinese mind flays its own hopes and desires, and by making the supreme realization that happiness is an unattainable bluebird and giving up the quest for it— "taking a step backwards," as the Chinese expression goes—it finds happiness nestling in its own hand, almost strangled to death during the hot pursuit of an imagined shadow. As a Ming scholar puts it, "by losing that pawn, one wins the whole game." This so-called mellowness is the result of a certain type of environment. In fact, all national qualities have an organic unity, which finds its explanation in the kind of social and political soil that nourishes them. For mellowness somehow grows naturally out of the Chinese environment as a peculiar variety of pear grows out of its natural soil. There are American- born Chinese, brought up in a different environment, who are totally devoid of the characteristics of the common Chinese, and who can break up a faculty meeting by the sheer force of their uncouth nasal twang and their direct forceful speech, a speech which knows no fine modulations. They lack that supreme, unique mellowness peculiar to the sons of Cathay. On the other hand, Chinese college youths are considerably more mature than American students of the same age, for even young Chinese freshmen in American universities cannot get interested in football and motor-cars. They have already other and more mature interests.1 Most probably they are lit is extremely dangerous, therefore, to send fresh American college graduates out to China as missionaries and put them over Chinese teachers or preachers twice as mature as themselves. Many of them have not even tasted the agony of first love.